Christophe Foglio, CTO, M6 Group
The M6 Group is one of France’s largest commercial broadcasters. The media company is planning on launching a number of new channels this year, as well continuing to modernize its infrastructure so it can provide content on more devices. Christophe Foglio, the M6 Group’s CTO talks about how the broadcaster is looking to become an innovative brand and market leader in France.
VIA SATELLITE: How are the costs of the production changing as you look to put content in multiple formats?
Foglio: In 2008, Nicolas de Tavernost, CEO of M6 Group approved a significant investment to make a total rebuild of the production and distribution tools of our channels. He was very aware about the development of catch-up TV. This production and distribution platform, as well as the ability to go full HD, was built as a multimedia platform that enable us to broadcast the programs of all our 10 channels on the traditional broadcast networks (DTT, satellite, cable, IPTV), but also in streaming mode and catch-up TV for smartphones, tablets. This platform was built as a file factory, so content could be duplicated in the right format and go to the right destinations for catch-up TV use. Automation software was developed to automate and industrialize the production and transfer of these files.
VIA SATELLITE: With the emergence of the iPad and other tablet devices proving to be popular devices with which consumers watch video content, have you developed a strategy to capitalize on this demand?
Foglio: Smartphones and tablets (only available on iPad at this time for our channels) are now essential in the consumption of television. This consumption will be done while people are on the move but also in a sedentary mode, at home (third or fourth home screen). Approximately 50 million videos are viewed each month through our catch-up TV service, of which 35 percent are on PC’s and 15 percent on tablets and smartphones. All our programs on catch-up have advertising.
VIA SATELLITE: What impact is Over The Top (OTT) broadcasting and streaming technologies having for traditional broadcasting?
Foglio: When traditional television meets Internet networks, we can say the broadcast TV revolution is underway. The main French private channels are looking at models like Hulu or Netflix, and consider developing a specific French model. The main risk for the viewer is to have to choose between different rival subscription packages which offer only few shows and not the show he wants to watch. The main goal for traditional TV channels is to controls both, content and distribution. That’s why the M6 Group develops more and more production of its own program concepts.
VIA SATELLITE: Where are you in terms of your HD strategy? How have you handled the transition from SD to HD?
Foglio: In 2008, when we started to modernize our broadcasts, we designed a fully HD platform to allow us to develop new channels and services to capitalize on the development of HD. To produce and broadcast in HD today is ensuring quality archive images for tomorrow (news), but also to have repeat programs in HD. Finally, it allows all the viewers who are not yet equipped with HD reception (DTT, cable, satellite, IPTV), to have better quality than if we produced natively in SD.
VIA SATELLITE: What major infrastructure projects is M6 Group working on?
Foglio: The way we consume television is changing. The advent of second screen interactivity leads us to transform the way we produce and distribute our programs. The main goal is not only to make the right choices in technologies, but also in terms of improving our IT systems infrastructure. The television industry is entering a new era and it’s not just only the right choice about technology, the television industry has to be agile to continue its development.